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Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Chiayi - not just your average town

We then depart from Xian Hu Leisure Farm 台南 to Chiayi 嘉義 county. The ride was about 2 and a half hours from Tainan. Chiayi county is the sixth largest county in Taiwan and we are heading to Fen Qi Lake 奋起湖 for our lunch!
As soon as we are near, I saw suspension bridges and many tourists visiting.
The mountains always has clouds surrounding them 
Fen Qi Hu has no lake, it was named that way because when the clouds surrounds the mountain, the mountain looks like it's floating on lake.
Wild Boar sausages! 
I find the stalls right outside the restaurant interesting, and the signage is so cute!
古道厨娘 the entrance
This restaurant is part of the Tian Mama group which features farmer's wives making home cooked food to accommodate visitors and also introduce unique and fresh produce in their area. All vegetables are organic and plucked fresh right off their farm.
A ai yu fruit tree 
Our lunch place is at Gu Dao Chu Niang 古道厨娘 which is situated at Fen Qi Lake beside the train station.
Fresh steamed village chicken
Once I walked into the restaurant, I feel like I visit someone's home at this hill. They are also part of the Tian Mama club that emphasize on fresh ingredients and mostly plant them right at their backyard or farm. This family plants tea and also bamboo shoots. 
Wasabi tofu
Wasabi plants grow on the soil here and it's grated fresh and placed on top of the tofu. This is my first time eating fresh wasabi as compared to the wasabi paste, the spiciness still there and fresh without the paste taste. XD 
Fresh bamboo shoots salad
Normally we eat bamboo shoots during Chinese New Year and it tend to have a kind of smell in Malaysia but in Taiwan, the bamboo has no smell at all the it's a different family of bamboo shoots so it's delicious! 
狮子头 Lions's head meatballs

This is everyone's favourite and it's gone in our table of 10 in less than 30 minutes! I love the veggie inside the meatballs and can't stop eating rice with it. 
Steam fish
Very natural way of steaming the fish with soy sauce and it's fresh.

茶香茗排 Tea leaves pork cutlet
I find this dish unique and the pork meat is mouth-watering and with a hint of sweetness and tea scent.
Jungle ferns or veggie
Simple jungle vegetable that reminds me of the ones I have in Borneo that was plucked freshly from their backyard.

Cooked Bamboo shoots 
This variation of bamboo shoots cooked with minced meat is just as good!

Ginseng chicken soup
What I love about this leisure farm and food trip is the quality home cooked soup that we had every meal! I'm craving for good soup now. 

Ai Yu jelly as dessert
I love ai yu and I get to see the fruit on the tree too! Full of collagen and good for skin. I finished two cups after all that heavy meal as they say girls have an extra stomach for dessert. hehe
Train tracks
Chiayi - Fen Qi Hu was a rest stop for visitors on the way to A Li Shan. They used to sell lunch bento and cakes for the train passengers.
Fen Chi Hu station
We visited this old station and lots of antique trains inside!
A model of train tracks around the mountain
The owner of Long Yun leisure farm was there to join us during lunch and also tell us a lot more about this old town.
Trains 
He was telling us his childhood memory of the transportation then which is the train. The trains use charcoals to operate and he showed us where the operator and workers are in the train.
I can't help admiring the work of art and craftsmanship on each train models.



The driver in front and another person putting the charcoals in there
I also did a little bit of film photography there with Lomography Purple!
Time to depart

Raining on the tracks
Cozy small town
Bento counter
This is where they sell lunch bento to passengers.
Fresh Wasabi
Next, we walk and shop in the old streets of Fen Qi Hu. Wasabi plant looks like this!
Ai Yu
Ai Yu fruit was actually turn inside out and dried under the sun. To make ai yu, simply put them in and rub the essence out then freeze it.
I also visited a cake shop that sells variety of cakes from wasabi flavour to red beans and meat. This shop is the only shop that sells wedding cake too. Their cake is like pancake type not the western cake.

Interesting ice cream
I did not try it though.
A cow dog

7 Eleven!
I love 7Eleven in Taiwan, and even send postcards back to myself. hehe.We were stuck in farms previously and this is our only chance in civilization.

Noodle house under 7Eleven shop
Egg icecream

Mayday!
So happy I get to buy Mayday edition Coca-cola. 
I bought 4 postcards
At 3pm, we proceed to our farm of the night. Long Yun Leisure farm which shall continue in next post!

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